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Comparison of Custom Built Software with Off the Shelf Solutions

Cost

Existing Product

  • Initial charge, PLUS annual fee.
  • Support - extra regular fees
  • Need customization? Huge extra fee.

Custom Solution

  • You pay as it’s built.
  • No licensing fees.
  • Software is built per your requirements. Is typically less expensive.

Your Competitors

Existing Product

  • Everyone can buy it.

Custom Solution

  • You have a competitive edge as you have a system your competitors don't.

Functionality

Existing Product

  • There are lots of facilities that you don’t need. There are some features you’d like that aren’t there. It's like buying a car that has alloy wheels (nice, but not necessary) but has no power steering (a definite necessity).

Custom Solution

  • You end up with exactly what you need. Often we find we need to help our customers define their. No more ‘sometimes we do it this way, other times that way’ (for no good reason). The software is designed around your processes. You don’t have to change your business model because the software doesn’t work that way.

Integration

Existing Product

  • May be very expensive to develop or even impossible.

Custom Solution

  • You decide how much integration you want.

Developer/Customer Relationship

Existing Product

  • You may be able to talk to their sales team or if you are paying, the support team.

Custom Solution

  • You know and regularly interact with the people who build the software, so you can make sure you are getting just what you need.

Program Bugs

Existing Product

  • Pressure to obtain some sales after an expensive development program often means version 1’s have many problems or unfinished features.

Custom Solution

  • As you are involved at all stages you decide when a feature is complete before it is deployed.

Reporting

Existing Product

  • They can only guess what you may want. Very often they contain information you don’t need as you don’t use that feature. Sometimes you are able to create customised reports but doing this is usually beyond the ability of the average user. Your IT people or an in-house developer is often required.

Custom Solution

  • You specify what you need, it is delivered.

Design

Existing Product

  • You buy a system that is for such a wide range of requirements that it is not perfect for anyone.

Custom Solution

  • The system you need is created specifically for you.

Modification / Customization / More Features

Existing Product

  • As one of many users of the product your request must be of use to many of the other users before it would even be considered. You must hope that the next version includes the features you’d like.

Custom Solution

  • As your business needs change modifications can happen. Your suggestions for change or improvement can be made.

Productivity

Existing Product

  • You have to work the way the program works.

Custom Solution

  • The system has been designed around your processes. One of the main reasons for having an IT solution is to reduce the time taken to carry out repetitive tasks and increase accuracy.

Security

Existing Product

  • If a hacker finds a way of vulnerability, once a fix is developed you need to install a patch.

Custom Solution

  • The level of security implemented is dependent on your application. A web based solution is obviously more liable to be attacked if it is on the internet. An internal system may need no more security than is provided by your current infrastructure. Custom built software gets security built to your needs.

Maintenance

Existing Product

  • You will usually be encouraged to have a maintenance contract. Frequently in reality, this involves very little work but is a nice revenue stream.

Custom Solution

  • Once the solution is in place we get very little call to maintain your application. Most of the time your existing IT maintenance processes are sufficient. If necessary this can be done for you. You are buying a custom solution.

Training

Existing Product

  • Perhaps the "Help" button will suffice or attend a training course.

Custom Solution

  • The level of complexity of your solution and the number of users will determine your needs. We can provide formal training, help files, manuals, reference cards etc. Often as your company has been actively involved in the design you know as much about the use of the system as we do and so nothing is required.